Inspired by the lead story from November Issue No. 181 of Magicol onSorcar, Walter “Zaney” Blaney shares his email to the author of the article, Tom Ewing, about his encounter with the great Indian magician.
Thank you to Walter for allowing us to reprint here for our readers to enjoy.
January 1, 2012
TO: Tom Ewing
FROM: Walter Blaney
I was delighted with your wonderful story of P.C. Sorcar. It was beautifully written, and I agree he was a really great magician, though I never got to see him work live.
I was fifteen years younger than he was, and he was in his heyday when I was growing up in Dallas and just getting fascinated with the whole world of magic. I read everything I could about Sorcar, and marveled at the photos and publicity he garnered with his big IND-DRA-JAL show.
I also remember reading a lot of malarky by some of the more envious magicians of the day, and a few magic columnists who poo-pooed him as just a big egotist, calling him names like “P.C. Sidecar” (the name Burling Hull gave him, rather oddly I thought, as Burling Hull had a pretty big ego himself).
Years later I got to meet Sorcar, in 1970 when I was invited to appear at the FISM Convention in Amsterdam, five years after I had premiered my Ladder Levitation at the 1965 IBM in Des Moines. Everyone had heard and read about my new illusion by then, and I was doing it at many magic conventions in those days. Many at FISM told me they were eager to see it performed.
On the morning of the gala show at night when I was to appear, I was walking around the main lobby of the convention center greeting my various friends. I remember seeing across the room Sorcar walking around dressed in his colorful costume, with the bejewelled turban, feather and all. I heard various snide remarks by some regarding his appearance in costume while in public.
But at that moment I saw the TV newsmen crew come into the lobby with cameras in hand and go up to the registration desk. They asked the FISM officers who they might point out that would look good on the evening news shows. They took the press over to a table where Albert Goshman was performing closeup, with a nice, captivated crowd watching him. But Al was dressed in jeans and a teeshirt. The press said they wanted someone more colorful, and asked who the gentleman was dressed in the East Indian costume and turban. They were told it was Sorcar from India, who had the world’s largest magic show. So it was Sorcar who was seen on the TV shows that evening. I got up the courage to walk over to Sorcar and introduce myself. He was very cordial, but of course did not know me at all.
That night I floated Irene Larsen in the air, and things could not have gone better. My trick again fooled everyone. In the lobby the next morning Sorcar came over to me to give congratulations on my appearance. He asked if I would like to talk and I said I would consider it an honor. We went away from the crowd an sat together inside the empty theater, just the two of us, and talked magic for about an hour. I was interested in all he had to say, and he was interested in me as well. There was no big ego. He was as cordial and down to earth as possible, and we each made a good, new friend in magic.
He brought up the subject of why he always wore his costume in public, and said that he knew magicians made fun of him for doing so. But he said that it was the main gimmick that got him so much publicity wherever he went, and that publicity was an important part of show business. He then showed me the newspaper under his arm. It was the morning Amsterdam paper, and he had a large color photo on the front page with a good story on him and the FISM convention. Boy, that sure proved his point.
Sadly, Sorcar died less than six months later, and I lost my new friend. I know I was so fortunate to have gotten to meet him.
Thanks again Tom, for your good story and nice photos.
Best from Texas,